Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - June 5th, 2003
Bush‘s Gamble on Peace

It is time to give George W. Bush some credit for his oft-criticized foreign policy.
If the president‘s hyped Roadmap for Peace concludes successfully, he could spend the rest of his time in office baling hay at his Texas ranch and still qualify as one of the best presidents of the 21st century.
Okay, we‘ve only had two presidents serve in this century so far. Still, an agreement and implementation of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as outlined by the Bush plan, would put him in a league with George Washington‘s role in our fight for independence and Abe Lincoln‘s brave management of the American Civil War.
If you think that such a lofty rating of President Bush would be an exaggeration, consider that most Middle East scholars outside of the U.S. believe such a peace settlement and the creation of a Palestinian state would do more to eliminate terrorism than any military operation against terrorists and their sympathizers we could possibly dream up.
George W. Bush didn‘t need to put his neck on the line. The past failures to bring a real peace to the region make any new plan a longer shot than the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl. Bush could have basked in the popular military successes that crushed dictatorships in Iraq and Afghanistan - and been reelected for a second term.
Instead, the president is rolling the dice on his political future by doing the right thing. At this time, a unique window of opportunity for peace is here. The following elements have converged upon this moment to give hope for a permanent Mideast solution:
(1) Israel and the U.S. were afforded a big concession by the Palestinians via the elimination PLO chief Yasser Arafat from any upcoming peace conferences. In their eyes, Arafat never seemed serious about concluding any major deal concerning the disputed territories. The hope is that PLO Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is serious about peace.
(2) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shocked Israelis and Palestinians alike by discussing the “occupation“ of Palestinian territories. Most Israeli politicians refer to the 3.5 million Palestinians under Israeli military as living in “disputed territories“. As a noted hawk regarding disputes with Arabs, Sharon has helped clear a path that would create a Palestinian state and theoretically eliminate the critical reason for Arab terrorism.
(3) Also, a favorable timing for peace is present because all parties concerned are sick and tired of the continued bloodshed in Israel and the surrounding territories. Jews and Arabs alike want the killing to stop.
(4) After quick military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush can now afford to pursue peace without appearing weak on terrorism to his constituents. Also, he knows it may be decades before all of the above factors are in place again.
If the Roadmap is successful, an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians would provide Bush a triumph that has eluded nine previous U.S. presidents - a lasting Mid-East peace that will do more to ensure American security than wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, and Syria combined.
Let us pray that our president is successful.

 
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